The Norfolk Tides went into Tuesday hoping for a split with the International League West Division leading Columbus Clippers at Huntington Field on Tuesday afternoon “getaway” game. Instead they got a taste of the powerful Columbus offensive firepower and pitching. The Tides sent Tim Bascom to the hill making his second AAA appearance for the Tides against Jeanmar Gomez. Bascom (0-2 5.40 ERA) went 4.2 innings giving up 4 runs on 8 hits before surrendering the ball to Jim Miller who pitched 1.1 innings giving up a hit but no runs.
Going into the 7th inning the game was still in reach for the Tides when the game got out of hand at the hands of pitchers optioned back to the Tides from the Orioles, neither of which seems to have the mojo to play at AAA much less in the Majors. Cla Meredith who has spent the better part of the last four years in the majors gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and a walk to bring his ERA up to 17.18 in three innings work for the Tides. Meredith lasted an inning and was replaced by fellow veteran Alberto Castillo who began the year with high hopes for the Tides and the Orioles but has not produced. On this night Castillo gave up 5 runs on 5 hits including a home run only retiring one batter before being pulled in favor of Mike Hinckley who held the surging Clippers scoreless to complete the 8th inning. The 35 year old Cuban defector has had a long career as a journeyman but has not found much success at the Major League level despite playing for a number of teams. One has to admire his desire to play the game but it is very likely that whatever good days he had are behind him this year having a 10.13 ERA in Baltimore and 8.64 ERA in Norfolk.
The Tides offense which had enjoyed a fine night on Monday was overwhelmed by the pitching of Gomez and Carlton Smith who combined on a 4 hit shutout. Only Michael Aubrey had an extra base hit a double while the other Tides hitters managed just three singles.
The Tides had no runs on four hits and one error and left three runners stranded. The Clippers had 11 runs on 18 hits with no errors and left seven runners aboard. Tim Bascom got the loss while Clippers starter Jeanmar Gomez got the win. The Tides had Wednesday off and begin a series in Toledo against the powerful Toledo Mud Hens who are in second place in the IL West. The Tides now stand at 29 wins and 38 losses tied for last in the IL South with the Charlotte nights 11 games behind the division leading Durham Bulls.
The Tides have been penalized this year by injuries and the lack of success by their parent club the Baltimore Orioles. As was the case last year the Orioles have been forced to call up large numbers of young Tides, in my view before many were ready for the Majors to fill in the gaps left by injuries and suffered by the Orioles. This was supposed to be the breakout year where the Orioles started achieving to their potential, but relying potential, especially unfulfilled and unrealized potential in lieu of solid proven players is a recipe for disaster for not only does a team lose and get used to losing but the young players, the impressionable players become more demoralized than veterans. The Orioles not only need a star quality manager but they need to shake up the 40 man roster and soon.
However there was something to cheer about for Orioles fans as last night former Norfolk Tides starting pitcher Jake Arietta pitched a 3 hitter through 7 innings against the Giants in San Francisco to notch his second Major League win in as many appearances. Having gotten to know Jake a bit in Norfolk I wish him all the best as he continues with the Orioles.
Anyway more Tides and Orioles news tomorrow, and later in the week the Deity Herself permitting I will spend some time analyzing the plight of the Orioles and what I would do if I was Andy McPhail.
Until then peace and don’t forget to read Meeting Jesus and the Team at 7-11 if you have an interest in a rather different view of faith and baseball.